Know the signs of Heart Disease

  • Published
  • By Capt. Lenore Cappelluti
  • 82nd Medical Operations Squadron
The United States has observed American Heart Month in February since 1963 when Congress asked the president for this special recognition. February 2010 is here, and unfortunately, women are still dying of heart attacks.

The most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control in 2005 show that heart disease was the cause of death in 454,000 women, and the leading cause of death in women 65 years and older.

Heart disease is not only a disease of older women, it is the second leading cause of death among women 45-64 years old and the third leading cause of death among women 25-44. Although women fear breast cancer more than heart disease they are 4 to 6 times more likely to die from heart disease. It kills more women over 65 than all cancers combined.

Though the numbers look bad, there are things that women do to help stay healthy, including:
  • Stop smoking
  • Control blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, eat healthy, exercise and take medication as instructed
  • Know your family health history
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and seek care immediately
Men tend to have the classic sign of heart attacks; sudden onset of chest and arm pain. For women it might not be as clear cut and may not have symptoms. Some of the signs of heart attacks in women include:
  • Feeling out of breath
  • Pain that runs along the neck, jaw and upper back
  • Nausea, vomiting or indigestion
  • Unexplained sweating
  • Sudden or overwhelming fatigue
  • Dizziness
It is important that if you or someone you know has these symptoms, time is of the essence in survival. Call 911 as soon as possible and within five minutes. Awareness can save someone else's life and yours.